It’s awfully weird to hear the criticisms you make of a show to then appear on said show. I don’t really know how to feel about it.
Can I be real with you for a second? Reviewing shows is absurd. I once wrote an article on this website about how silly I find match star ratings and bluntly, I think show grades are silly as well. It’s impossible to grade these things in an objective manner. I’m not sitting here with a pen and paper, tallying up specific items to create a grade. Nah...I watch the show, write about the things that really stuck out to me, and then I just ballpark the damn thing.
Well, Vince McMahon just scripted a segment where he essentially acknowledged every common complaint made this past month or two. That’s nuts in its own right, and I honestly appreciate that effort – as much as folks complain that fans are ungrateful or whatever, we’re into this. We want wrestling to kick ass. WWE made a dramatic shift in Raw’s narrative to try to make that happen.
So uh...let’s talk about that.
Let’s Blame Corbin
The show started with Seth Rollins saying everything we’ve all said for a month or so: Raw sucks. And it’s all Corbin’s fault.
I called the show two weeks ago the worst Raw I can remember watching because it was just heel beatdown after heel beatdown. It was entirely unpleasurable to watch. And according to Rollins, shows like that are Corbin’s fault; he’s giving so much help to his friends that he’s creating a toxic environment that hurts everyone.
That’s a good narrative. So what can we blame Corbin for this time?
For starters, poor Heath Slater, man. It’s always the little guys who get screwed by authoritarians, and Slater was put in the worst spot all night. Donning his new referee gear, Slater was forced to do precisely what Corbin wanted because he has no other choice; it he rebels, he gets fired.
That means allowing The Almighty Bobby Lashley – by the way, did y’all see the parody drawing of Lashley as All Might? It’s excellent) - to interfere in a 1-on-1 match between Lio Rush and Elias. Slater looked a broken man as he sullenly counted the pin fall. Look down, look down, Slater. Don’t look ‘em in the eye.
We can also blame Corbin for unleashing Drew McIntyre upon the roster with no repercussions. Dolph Ziggler was booked in a rematch against McIntyre this week. It uh...it didn’t go well for the Show Off. Without Balor there to interfere, McIntyre won the match and capped it off by hitting a Claymore and smashing Ziggler’s head into the ring’s LED board. This dude’s out of control and a good general manager would have suspended the dude by now. But of course, here we are.
Corbin sucks, man.
Finn Balor spent the entire show last week foiling all of Corbin’s best plans. He paid the price with a brutal assault by Drew McIntyre, however, but it got the wheel in motion. Now, the Raw roster is finally fighting back.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable were the first ones to spoil Corbin’s plans, winning the Raw Tag Team Championships by defeating the Authors of Pain in a Handicap Match. It was an awesome moment, but gee, it seems having someone piss their pants caused a massive drop in credibility. Who would have thought?! I think we might be seeing the last of Drake Maverick as the AoP’s manager.
The main resistance of course, came in the form of Seth Rollins. Rollins called Corbin out to start the show and just put everything on the table. He name-dropped The Revival as a particular team that’s been screwed by Corbin’s carelessness, and demanded a match to close the show. After some careful prodding, Corbin snapped and agreed to a TLC match – but it would be for the Intercontinental Championship.
It’s a very rare treat to get a TLC match on Raw, and we’d probably be better served with surprises like this a bit more frequently. Corbin and Rollins wrestled for roughly 30 minutes in a very fun match, and the story here was always about referee Heath Slater. When was he going to do Corbin’s bidding?
It would come near the end when Rollins had the win sealed up. As he climbed the ladder, Slater apologetically tipped it over, spilling Rollins to the outside. And in what we’ve been conditioned lately to think would end the show, Corbin started climbing the ladder with a pompous smirk, thinking he had the match won.
...Nah. Rollins recovered, took both men out, and reclaimed his championship. Much, much better.
The Best Women’s Feud on Raw – It’s Natalya vs. Ruby Riott. And it’s not even close.
And that doesn’t even mean it’s phenomenal, either. That’s just how much I despise everything else happening in the women’s division. Natalya finally got a promo to call out Riott for her actions like a month ago, and I thought it was solid. There were some weird word choices at times, but you can’t fake the emotion, nor the vehemence with which Nattie swore to drive Riott through a table on Sunday.
And Riott bringing out a table with Nattie’s father on it? C’mon man, that’s sadistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if this match kicks ass at TLC.
Ember Moon def. Tamina – This was the Rousey vs. Jax segment and I still hate this feud. The sooner it’s over, the better.
Bayley def. Alicia Fox – With Finn Balor injured – and yes, I’m freaking out about it – Bayley needed a new partner for the Mixed Match Challenge. Apollo Crews came out to help Bayley and Sasha Banks with Jinder Mahal and the Singhs. Quick question: If Balor’s misses this week and comes back in for the finals to win...does he get spot #30 or does that go to Crews? Wrestle for it, perhaps?
Dean Ambrose stuff – Geno’s right. The stuff WWE’s doing with Renee Young’s relationship with Ambrose is freaking golden. She outright admitted during the main event that she benefits if Ambrose wins at TLC. More money in their household, after all.
Ambrose also had a promo where he just railed on Rollins a bit and when asked what Reigns would think of his actions, he responded with, “who cares?”
Lars Lurking – I know Lars has had some issues with people digging through his social media, but I cannot deny that I’m excited for his debut. He’s my favorite big guy in WWE and it’s not particularly close.
This show acted as a reset of sorts, and it was entirely welcome. Raw still has massive kinks it needs to work out, but I think WrestleMania season will help a lot in that regard. The one thing I’d caution them on is picking the right guys to hitch their wagons to. Rollins is definitely one of those guys.
Isn’t Corbin the freaking worst, Cageside?